Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Administration

First Advisor

Donahoo, Saran


Existing research literature indicates a scarcity of African American males attaining senior administrative positions at predominantly White institutions (PWIs). The previous research often lacks an empirical focus, resulting in a substantial gap in the literature (Jackson, 2004; Lewis, 2007; Pickron, 1991).
This qualitative study examines the career paths and leadership experiences of nineteen African American male senior administrators in student affairs at four-year predominantly White institutions across the United States. The rationale for this study emerges from the researcher's frustration with the paucity of male senior administrators of color in student affairs at PWIs as role models, and a lack of clarity as to the steps needed to attain such a position. An exploration into the attainment of senior administrative positions in student affairs would disclose the necessary leadership skills and training appropriate to lead a student affairs organization.
Critical race theory (CRT) frames this study and provides a framework for analyzing the lived experiences of people of color whose voices are least heard in the academy. Through qualitative methods, African American males are allowed to reflect on their career trajectory, leadership experiences, and attainments in becoming senior administrators in student affairs at PWIs.
The criterion sample selection (19 of 43, or 44%) was comprised of African American male vice presidents in student affairs at PWIs, and identified for this study as members of the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) organization. This study reveals the importance of having a doctoral degree, general skill sets, influential mentors, and membership in professional organizations that serve as a resource for the best practices in student affairs. Without the necessary credentials, it seems highly unlikely that many African American males will be able to attain senior leadership positions in student affairs.
The study offers recommendations for further research, which could prove valuable for African American male and female aspirants pursuing senior administrative positions in student affairs at PWIs.




This dissertation is only available for download to the SIUC community. Current SIUC affiliates may also access this paper off campus by searching Dissertations & Theses @ Southern Illinois University Carbondale from ProQuest. Others should contact the interlibrary loan department of your local library or contact ProQuest's Dissertation Express service.